Gyang Bere, Jos; Walter Ukaegbu, Abuja; Gyang Bere, Jos; Stanley Uzoaru, Owerri and Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
America has challenged the Federal Government to ensure that perpetrators of the recent killings in Plateau State are brought to justice.
In what Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAM) described as retaliatory attacks over alleged rustling of 300 of their cattle, herders at the weekend attacked eleven communities in BarkinLadi and Riyom local government areas leaving in their trail sorrow, tears and death of 150 persons.
The US, in a statement by Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the US Department of State, yesterday, condemned in the strongest possible terms the killing of civilians and destruction of property in the North-Central state.
“We are concerned by the recent increase in armed violence against civilians and call on all political and community leaders to lend their voices to peace and to work together to find lasting solutions to these rural conflicts.
“We join president Buhari and others in sending our deepest condolences to the affected communities, and in the desire to see the perpetrators brought to justice and to prevent further violence,” Nauert said.
Buhari in Plateau, calls for prayer to end insecurity
President Buhari has called for prayers to bring the country out of the prevailing security challenges.
Buhari who spoke yesterday when he visited Plateau State to commiserate with the people of the killings said the Federal Government would ensure justice for those killed in the state and other parts of the country.
“There is nothing I can do to help the situation except to pray to God to help us out of the security challenges. What has happen is a very bad thing, the bottom line is that justice must be allowed to take it course.
“Fulani herdsmen are used to carrying sticks during grazing but the herders of this days carry AK47, anybody caught with weapon should be arrested.”
Accompanied by the governors of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, Niger State, Sani Bello, ministers of Defence, Mansur Dan-Ali, Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazzau, Information, Lai Mohammed and the Inspector General of Police, IbrahimIdris,Buhari reiterated the commitment of the Federal Government to collaborate with the security agencies in tackling insecurity in the country.
He urged leadership of various communities in the state to help in controlling the security problems, saying that the people must imbibe the spirit of tolerance.
He insisted that his administration would not renege on its campaign promises to tackle insecurity, corruption and economic recovery.
Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, lauded the president on the visit, saying the recent attack left over 200 persons dead and several communities were displaced.
“This current attack, Mr. President, is very disturbing and alarming because it has left behind in its ugly trail the painful loss of over 200 people, besides the humanitarian challenges confronting thousands of displaced persons whose houses and crops have been burnt and completely destroyed.
“Mr. President, our Government has made it clear and you have eloquently stated that you will continue to protect and preserve the sanctity of lives. Agents of destabilisation are, however, hell bent on making nonsense of the success you have achieved in dealing with internal security threats to our corporate existence as a nation.”
He said that burning of places of worship during the attack was worrisome and called on every Nigerian to condemn such act as it was capable of driving the country into religious war.
He demanded Emergency Special Intervention Fund to help reconstruct the ravaged communities.
APC govs visit Friday
Imo State governor and Chairman, Progressive Governors Forum, Rochas Okorocha, said governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would be in Plateau State on Friday.
He explained that while on the visit, the governors will assess the situation and interact with Governor Simon Lalong to see what could be urgently done to stop further killings in the state and other parts of the country.
Speaking at the Sam Mbakwe International Cargo Airport on arrival from Abuja after the national convention of the party, Okorocha said: “Governors of APC condemn in its entirety this unwarranted killings of innocent souls and shedding of blood. We have called them insurgents, we’ve called them Boko Haram, we have called them all kinds of baptismal names and because the situation is not properly defined, most people hide under the cloak of religion of Christianity or Islam to create harm.
“No religion on earth would warrant taking anyone’s life. So, this is not indeed a religious issue. Nigerians must come together now and fight this war properly because nationalism and religious differences have been the loophole with which these criminals operate.”
Two days after the attack that claimed scores of lives, Bala Ciroma, has replaced Undie Adie as the Commissioner of Plateau State command.
In a statement issued in Jos, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Tyopev Mathias Terna said Ciroma has assumed duty.
“Today 26th June, 2018, a new Commissioner of Police, CP Bala Ciroma has assumed duty as the Commissioner of Police, Plateau State Command, Jos.”
Until his appointment, he was Deputy Commissioner of Police Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (CIID) FCT Abuja.
CP Ciroma, who hails from Yobe State graduated from the University of Maiduguri in 1988 and joined the Nigeria Police Force as a Cadet Assistance Superintendent of Police in 1990.
He had served in different places and in various capacities and also worked in virtually all the six geopolitical zones of the country and in all Departments in the Nigeria Police Force.
Meanwhile, Former Comtroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service and Aspirants for Plateau Central Senatorial Zone, David Parradang, has urged Federal Government to overhaul its security apparatus with a view to checkmating influx of irregular immigrants and proliferation of arms.
Parradang in a statement issued in Jos, said government should take stringent measures to checkmate influx of Fulani terrorist into the country.
“Federal Government has to as a matter of urgency overhaul its entire security structure by equipping all security agencies for effective checking of our porous borders, proliferation of military assault weapons and influx of irregular immigrants to enable Nigeria survive the present contemporary security challenges confronting the nation.”
Parradang said it was unfortunate that Plateau has been under siege in the past few months.
He urged stakeholders, elders and other relevant authorities to collaborate through the formation of sophisticated intelligence framework and information gathering to help identify these senseless killers.
Security operatives assault Ezekwesili
A detachment of armed security operatives attached to the presidential villa, Abuja, yesterday, assaulted Oby Ezekwezili, former minister of education, while on a solo march to the State House.
The protest which kicked off at the federal secretariat was disrupted at the villa gate by security operatives stationed at the gate who manhandled her while struggling to collect her placard.
The ex-minister put up a resistance, forcing the plain cloth operatives to shove her.
Journalists covering the protest were not spared as their phones and cameras were seized.
Earlier, Ezekwesili told reporters that the “lukewarm attitude” of President Buhari to the carnage in some parts of the country influenced her action.
She accused the president of “watching with consternation, the criminal massacre of Nigerians especially in the first half of this year without any evidence of fierce sense of urgency on the part of
his government to end the abnormality.”
Among the demands she highlighted in her message to the president were: “An end to the endless killings by herdsmen going on in the country”, “Reveal the identity of the perpetrators of these wanton killings in Benue, Taraba, Kaduna, Zamfara, Plateau, Nasarawa and Kogi states etc,” “Give justice for the victims of violent killings across the country and secure the living in all part
of the country,” “End the ineffectiveness of the security establishment, “End your loyalty to the service chiefs, “Stop the blame game and confusing statement on the killings of the citizens.”
PFN tasks Buhari
Meanwhile, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN) has challenged President Buhari and other politicians, particularly those in the All Progressives Congress (APC) to attach same vigour and seriousness being given to the 2019 campaigns to issues relating to the safety of lives and property of Nigerians.
The PFN, in a statement signed by its National President, Rev. Dr. Felix Omobude said government must rise up and fulfill one of its major campaign promises, which is to secure the lives of Nigerians.
“How can we be campaigning and singing with 2019 general elections in the country when the nation is on fire with several innocent Nigerians being killed on a daily basis?” he queried
He noted that any government that cannot protect its people did not deserve to remain in office.
“Never in the history of Nigeria has the lives of Nigerians been so very cheap. Today, people in any guise can kill with impunity and get away with it. Hundreds of people are being slaughtered at regular interval and the criminal elements seem not to be brought to justice?
“There is need for our government and security forces to be proactive instead of reactionary. They should learn to be on top of the situation by acting before the criminals strike. Besides, there is need for an urgent review of the nation’s security apparatus so as to make it more effective,” he said.
UPP: Attacks threat to democracy
The United Progressive Party (UPP) has tasked Buhari to pay urgent attention to the security architecture of Nigeria.
In a statement by its national chairman, Chief ChekwasOkorie, theparty said if no urgent steps were taken to check the activities of the insurgents, the political campaigns leading to the much expected 2019 general elections may be jeopardised.
According to him, it would not only constitute a major setback to the consolidation and growth of the nation’s democratic process, it will also be a major minus to
the improved number of registered voters so far recorded by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), who are looking forward to participating in the 2019 general elections in an unfettered and safe environment.
The UPP called on the Nigeria Police, especially the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, to deploy the same technology that he has used to crack recent armed robbery and kidnapping criminal to the herdsmen crisis.
“These terrorists communicate among themselves and with their sponsors within and outside Nigeria. It is therefore unacceptable that the Police Force that has been equipped with modern technology has not been able to make any significant breakthrough or made arrest of these blood hounds who have made life so short and brutish in many parts of Nigeria,” it stated.